Sydney Airport Holdings has received a third non-binding offer of US$17.38 billion from a consortium of infrastructure investors, after the airport had rejected two prior offers in the last two months from the same group.
The suitors, dubbed ‘Sydney Aviation Alliance’ (SAA), led by IFM Investors, Q Super, AustralianSuper and Global Infrastructure Partners, have offered to pay US$6.44 a share for Sydney Airport. It follows their previous offer of US$6.14 in August, which was a 2.4 percent increase on their original offer for the airport in July.
From the beginning of negotiations in July, the sale of the airport has been contingent on it granting due diligence and recommending it to shareholders, according to multiple reports. As a result, the airport group may also consider other takeover bids if they arise.
The company has also agreed to disclose its books, so that the Sydney Aviation Alliance can take a closer look at its numbers.
Sydney Airport’s board said that it would recommend that its shareholders accept the deal, if the SAA were to make a formal offer.
For the sale to go through, the deal must undergo an independent expert’s report, receive approval from at least 75 per cent of shareholders, and gain approval from the competition regulator — the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) — and from the Foreign Investment Review Board.]
The airport must also remain 51 per cent Australian-owned. The deal would see the airport become delisted as it goes privately-owned.
Sydney Airport is Australia’s largest and only publicly listed airport. The airport said total passenger traffic in the first half of the year was down 36.4 percent to six million passengers, compared to 2020.
From January to April, the airport returned to 65 percent of its pre-Covid domestic passengers and in just over two months between late April and June, trans-Tasman traffic recovered to more than 40 percent of pre-Covid levels, it said in a press release.
SEE ALSO : Sydney Airport gets US$16 billion buyout bid
Sydney Airport is currently the only major airport hub in the city of Sydney, with Western Sydney Airport due to open in 2026.
IFM currently holds stakes in major airports in Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, while QSuper owns a stake in Britain’s Heathrow Airport.